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Funerals/include son's ashes in casket with mother


My brother died a year ago and was cremated.  I have his ashes and would now like to include them in the foot of my mother's casket who is very near death.  Is this legal in the state of California, county of Santa Clara?  And, are there any county or state regulations on how to prepare the grave marker?  Can both names-DOB & DOD be included on the same grave marker?  Is there any reason a cemetery/memorial park would discourage against or not allow this process to take place?  We are using a funeral home outside of the cemetery where the burial will take place. Is the cemetery allowed to charge an extra fee knowing that there are basically 2 deceased persons in 1 casket?

Did you already tell the cemetery of your plans? Because, yes, they WILL charge for a second right of interment if they know about it. It is perfectly legal to include the cremated remains in the casket. I also would NOT tell the funeral director what you're planning to do, as he/she will want to think up reasons to charge you more. Laws have nothing to do with it. Well, sort of. CA requires some ridiculous extra permits for cremated remains being moved from where they were when the person died. But the state has NO way to actually track that.

As for getting your brother mentioned on the marker, I'd wait a while before asking about that. You could fib a bit and say his ashes were "scattered" but you'd like a memorial for him. Or at least ask in a way that doesn't disclose what you're planning to do. Good luck!


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Lisa Carlson


Funeral Law. Having written a 512-page book on funeral law for consumers with state-by-state information, I am very conversant with consumer rights in this regard: What are the laws on disposition of cremated remains? Is embalming required? Do I have to use a funeral home? Can I have a home wake? Is it a state law to buy a vault? I prepaid for a funeral but changed my mind. They won`t give me all my money back. What can I do? . . . If you have an immediate need for information because a death has just occurred or is about to occur, you may call me at 802-482-6021.


I have monitored the funeral industry on behalf of consumers for over 20 years. I have been a guest speaker to funeral trade organizations, consumer workshops, and social service professionals. I am regularly consulted by lawyers and legislators as well as journalists.

Funeral Ethics Organization ( Funeral Consumers Alliance (

Caring for Your Own Dead (1987) Caring for the Dead: Your Final Act of Love (1998) I Died Laughing: Funeral Education with a Light Touch (2001) Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death (2011) with co-author Joshua Slocum

Masters degree in Administration and Special Education

Past/Present Clients
Available as an expert witness for funeral-related court cases.

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